18|8 Fine Men's Salon Finds Sweet Spot in Male Market

18|8 Fine Men's Salons has become one of the fastest growing male-focused franchises in the US following the opening of 45 new salons in the past eight months and a further 35 due to open before the end of 2015.

The up-market group has been ahead of the curve when it comes to male services since it opened its first location in 2002 in Orange County, California. It began expanding in 2012, and with the additional 80 outlets, now has salons spread across the country from as far west as Washington, as far south as New Mexico and as far east as Massachusetts. A further 320 locations are in planning.

'Our plan was always to develop a brand that we could expand across the country,' said co-founder and COO, Ron Love. 'We spent 10 years perfecting the experience, crafting the ultimate male grooming center, securing the right partners and building the infrastructure to grow rapidly once we felt the market was ready. Judging by the success of our franchisees, we hit the sweet spot on timing.'

That sweet spot appeared just over three years ago, and since then the brand has been a powerhouse, not just with new openings but with its STEEL Team of educators making a mark at numerous key industry events as part of their partner network.

18|8's unique concept focuses on giving men an up-market experience, on their terms. Each highly trained stylist has a semi-private station with backwash where they deliver a wide range of services.

'There has been a huge resurgence in male-focused salons, and we have led the way with our 'fine men's salon' concept,' added Ron. 'Men were after their own salon experience which was more premium than the neighborhood barbershop, but not crowded with women talking about their boyfriends. For a long time they were willing to grit their teeth and bear the environment of a women's salon, but now, across the US, our franchisees are giving them the option of highly trained staff delivering excellent service. Frankly, we think their women were keen to nudge them out of their salons anyway. Both have contributed to our success.'

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